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Why Do Dogs’ Feet Smell Like Fritos?

A puppy places its paw into a human's hand.
Ann Tyurina/Shutterstock.com

I used to have a dog that I affectionately referred to as “Frito Feet” thanks to the unique corn chip aroma that seemed to constantly emanate from his paws. As it turns out, it’s more common than I realized.

Most dogs’ feet smell like Fritos, and the reason might surprise you.

The cause of “Frito feet” has to do with the naturally-occurring bacteria on your dog’s paws. Dogs don’t sweat like humans, so when they overheat and need to cool down, they tend to sweat from their paws. Cute? Gross? Maybe both.

The good news? Most of the time, it’s not anything to worry about, and if it isn’t bothering your dog, it’s probably best to just live with the smell.

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For perfectly pleasant-smelling paws, use this odor eliminating spray.

Essentially, an influx of bacteria called Pseudomonas and Proteus occurs when your dog sweats from its paws. The combination is what creates a yeasty smell that’s similar to corn chips.

The good news? That smell doesn’t mean your dog is sick or has a fungal infection. If there’s redness, swelling, or draining around your dog’s feet, that might be a different story.

Some pet owners don’t care about the smell of their dog’s feet, while others find it unpleasant. But, it’s not good to try to “mask” the odor with soaps or perfumes. It’s important to let your dog smell like a dog. If you don’t like the Frito “musk”, try to keep your face away from their feet and make sure your dog stays as clean as possible.

If you’ve noticed your pup’s paws smell like Fritos and wondered why, it’s bacteria. Yes, that sounds gross, but it’s your dog. They’re perfect. Even down to the bacteria.

Stacey Koziel Stacey Koziel
Stacey Koziel is a news writer at LifeSavvy. She's worked as a freelance writer for over ten years, focusing on family and lifestyle content. She also has a background in marketing and social media, and is always eager to talk (and write!) about the latest TikTok trends. Read Full Bio »
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